One of the best kept industry secrets for finding unbeatable value is to search for repositioning cruises. They are often the longest journeys, with the most sea days – but into day’s work of work-from-anywhere and long breaks, they represent amazing value.

Repositioning cruises happen because lines need to move their vessels between regions to meet the demand of differing seasons. For those that take them, the journey is the thing.

Rising flight prices have underscored the value of the repositioning cruise – meaning you can take a trip to an international destination and only take one flight.

For example, a repositioning cruise from Sydney to Hawaii, you can just jump on that cruise, stay in Hawaii however long you please, then fly home. Not to mention that you’ll have the comfort of a cruise and stop in at different ports on the way . 

Repositioning cruises are inflexible, and factors like extra days at sea and sometimes reduced connectivity mean they’re not for everyone, but for the savvy, flexible traveller and cruise enthusiast they can often turn out to be some of the best cruise deals out there.

How much can you save?

A first advantage of transpacific cruises is that they’re generally quite long, they’ll give you plenty of time to enjoy the ship and decompress. However, cruise lines want you on their ship while it sails, so long doesn’t mean overly expensive.

For example, this 18-night transpacific cruise from Hawaii to Sydney on Quantum of the Seas starts from just $1902 for 18-nights, or just $105 per night. Getting to spend 18-nights on a Royal Caribbean ship is rare enough for Aussie’s, with the only other cruise of that length on our shores currently available being this 18-night All Out Australia & New Zealand cruise, starting from $7450, or $413 a night. Admittedly this price is inflated due to it being a rare itinerary with a high number of ports and interior cabins being sold out, but it is the only other option for Aussie’s looking to spend nearly three weeks on Quantum, Spectrum or Ovation

Even for a more standard cruise, this 14-night New Zealand cruise starts from $1907, which is $136 per night, so an extra $31 per day. 

Furthermore, the repositioning cruise drops you in Hawaii. The average price for a one-way to Hawaii in October this year is about $500, meaning that if you want to visit Hawaii, you’ve just had that price absorbed into your cruise fare. This is what makes repositioning cruises perfect to combine with land travel, as you can essentially have an entire holiday just on the way to the destination. Then once there, you can also plan your travel to get the cheapest flights home and save further on flights.

What makes combining repositioning cruises with land travel often preferable over just traditional travel in also the currently inflated cost of hotels. A four-star hotel in Oahu is currently running at about $400 per night, meaning if you were to travel two-weeks in Hawaii, you’re already spending a total of $8400, just on accommodation.

Whereas if a couple were to combine the Royal Caribbean repositioning cruise with one week of travel in Hawaii, you could spend the $1902 each on the cruise, then $2800 for a week of accommodation, equalling $6604 for 25-nights of travel, rather than $8400 for 21-nights. Then when you further consider that you’re only paying for one-flight, your one-way flight flight home will likely be around $500, and your return flights likely around $850. 

This means it totals out to $7604 for two people to take the repositioning cruise, travel for a week in Hawaii, then fly home, and it totals out to $10,100 for two people to travel for three weeks in Hawaii and take roundtrip flights from Sydney. This means the repositioning cruise option saves you $2496 and in this instance, you’ll actually be away for four nights longer. 

A repositioning cruise is a different way to get to Hawaii.What to consider 

More sea days

Repositioning cruises need to cover ground fast, so they generally stop at fewer ports than an average cruise. If you’re the type of cruiser who loves days at sea then this is perfect, however, if you tend to get a bit of cabin fever, this is an important consideration before booking a repositioning cruise.

However, as a bonus, less ports will mean you spend less money outside of your cruise fare. As you’ll spend less on shore excursions and at ports and spend more time on the ship where most of your expenses are covered. 

It’s also worth thinking about the cruise line that you travel with and who you’re travelling with. For example, if you’re travelling with kids, then Royal Caribbean or Carnival will be great options for a repositioning cruise as the kids will never run out of things to do, whereas less family-oriented lines could become tedious for kids.

Do you want to travel there anyway?

In the example used, the repositioning cruise represents significantly more value to travellers that want to visit Hawaii anyway. As they are then saving the cost of the flight if they wish to explore further after arriving, or if the cruise is the other way around, if they want to get to Hawaii and travel before the cruise leaves. 

It can be harder to stay connected

Spending more time out at sea and in-more remote regions can mean lessened WiFi connectivity. For some this is the perfect wind-down, but if you need to stay in close touch with family or work this could be an issue.

However, as WiFi rapidly improves on cruise ships across the industry, this is becoming less of an issue. 

Go around the world?

While the best savings in terms of flights happens when you take a repositioning cruise that either starts or ends in Australia, repositioning cruises are happening all around the world and if you’re planning extended travel they can make a great leg of an around-the-world journey.

For example, repositioning cruises between Europe and the USA are extremely common, so if you wanted to visit both continents as part of a larger journey, you can jump on a repositioning cruise and avoid paying for the flights in between them. 

Alternatively, if you have any particular ships you want to jump on that aren’t visiting Australia, a repositioning cruise could be the most cost-effective way to make it happen. 

Princess has a range of repositioning cruises available.

Best deals 

Royal Caribbean has a great deal from Brisbane to Oahu, sailing for 15-nights from just $1947, or for something longer, this 29-night Los Angeles to Brisbane cruise starts from just $4472

For an example of the value you can find on Europe to USA sailings, this Rome to Miami sailing over 13-nights with stops in Spain and the Canary Islands is only $966, or just $74 per night. 

For another option that will take you straight back home, this Carnival cruise will take you from Seattle to Sydney for just $2233 over 21-nights, with Hawaii and South Pacific stops along the way. If you’re rather looking to head to Asia, this 16-night Singapore to Sydney cruise with stops in Jakarta, Bali, the Great Barrier Reef and more is just $1458 or $91 per day.

Cruise Guru has some great deals running for Princess repositioning cruises, with this 27-night sailing from Vancouver to Sydney starting at $3635 or this 24-night sailing from San Francisco to Sydney starting from just $2965.

Celebrity also has some great deals running, with this 17-night Tahitian Treasures cruise from Sydney to Hawaii, starting from $3247, or this 17-night Fiji Transpacific sailing, also from Sydney to Hawaii, kicking off from $3614.